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A Life on the Ocean Wave! - A Home on the Rolling Deep! The Queen Mary 2 Remastered & the ABS

It had the distinct air of the first school day after a long summer’s holiday. Indeed, it’s been six weeks since the last Austro-British Society’s do and accordingly our members buzzed with great excitement and expectations.

Opening the evening we harked to the voice of our President Dr Kurt Tiroch whom we hadn’t listened to, it seemed, for a long time whilst waiters busied themselves serving us champagne.

The presentation of Bob Dixon, General Manager EMEA Sales, about the 175 year long history of Cunard Line was both informative and entertaining. Queen Mary 2, launched in 2003, is not only a feat in engineering, but also in size. This mighty vessel is the largest, longest and most expensive ocean liner ever built - an impressive title indeed!  With her graceful appearance and superb sea-keeping ability, QM2 is a thoroughbred capable of transiting the North Atlantic Ocean. The most significant refurbishment in its 13-year history, the ship's "remastering" runs far deeper than a lick of paint and new carpets (though 55,200 square metres of them have been laid). Vast chunks of the 2,600-passenger ship's framework were stripped out as contractors worked day and night at the Blohm + Voss shipyard, transforming QM2's interior and repainting the exterior.

We also heard an amusing anecdote regarding the naming of the original cruise liner Queen Mary (1936), now at harbour in Los Angeles, who was originally meant to be known by a different name. All ships’ names ended traditionally with an “ia” like “Britannia” or “Lusitania” to distinguish them from cruise liners like the Titanic and her sister ships Olympic and Britannic. A director of Cunard met King George V intending to name the ship Queen Victoria. He asked if the vessel could be named after “the greatest Queen this country has ever known”. The King replied “That is the greatest compliment ever paid to my wife. I'll ask her”. Hence, the ship became the Queen Mary.

Class was finally dismissed on this first day to a fabulous flying buffet. Several glasses of wine were needed to toast this successful reunion of our members after the long summer break.

I end my report on a seafaring note by the American editor, poet and playwright Epes Sargent:

 

“A life on the ocean wave! A home on the rolling deep!

Where the scattered waters rave, and the winds their revels keep!

A life on the ocean wave! A home on the rolling deep!

Where the scattered waters rave, and the winds their revels keep!

Like an eagle caged I pine, on this dull unchanging shore.

Oh give me the flashing brine! The spray and the tempest roar!

A life on the ocean wave! A home on the rolling deep!

Where the scattered waters rave, and the winds their revels keep!

The winds, the winds, the winds their revels keep!

The winds, the winds, the winds their revels keep!

 

The land is no longer in view, the clouds have begun to frown

But with a stout vessel and crew we'll say let the storm come down!

The land is no longer in view, the clouds have begun to frown

But with a stout vessel and crew we'll say let the storm come down!

And the song of our hearts shall be, while the winds and waters rave.

A life on the heaving sea! A home on the bounding wave!

A life on the ocean wave! A home on the rolling deep!

Where the scattered waters rave, and the winds their revels keep!

The winds, the winds, the winds their revels keep!

The winds, the winds, the winds their revels keep!“

 

Wolfgang Geissler